Every day, we have conflicts with almost everyone about what we think and what we believe (there are religious conflicts, conflicts of opinions...). Also, there are people who think about alternative fictious realities and some of them really wish that these would be true or would exist.

So, is there any type of philosophy which proposes that whatever you believe or whatever you can imagine does somehow exist somewhere? Is fictional realism or platonism some examples of them?

  • "When you wish upon a star...doesn't matter where you are..." Disney? Mar 19 '20 at 21:30
  • "Whatever you imagine exists" (in some sense) is very different from "whatever you believe is true". The former simply introduces a very thin sense of "existence" that has some technical attractions. It was pioneered by Meinong, see Nonexistent Objects. If all beliefs were about what one imagines it might be fine to label them all true, although it still runs into the problem of total incoherence. But most of them are not, and confusing what is with what is imagined ends badly for one's health, among many other problems.
    – Conifold
    Mar 20 '20 at 4:17
  • Most directly: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modal_realism. The only kind of belief being true this case does not cover is the delusion that what is real in another world is real in this one. (There is a world where this is that world, but that is not this world?) Apr 19 '20 at 16:14

Imagine a pink Goblin. Give him two very white ears. Now change his color to blue. Make him a bit shorter than he was.

Good. Now where does this Goblin "exist"? In my understanding I have come to accept that "exist" is a loaded word and can suffer from ambiguity of meaning based on different contexts. To say that something exists, like numbers, when considering the pressure inside a tank, is very real and solid discussion material. This goblin, is similar to those numbers but unlike the numbers, this goblin doesn't share a context with a real public physical world we all share. Hence, if you mean by existence, the very fact that it can become knowable, then it does exist. However, that doesn't necessarily imply that what you conjure up in your mind has a physical counterpart.

This may lead some people to incline themselves towards substance dualism, as the goblin you conjured up in your minds eye, has a real experiential effect on your mind. And your mind is apparently causally linked to the physical world, but we don't know which way that link works (the free will debate). You may change your physical actions to include your imaginary goblin, like share a conversation with him, but people might take you for a nutjob if you do it in public.

The point is, mental events that you are able to experience as a objects in consciousness have an existence, but to make that case, one must refine the definition of "existence".


Not to be glib, but it does "exist" "somewhere." In your mind or imagination, experience, etc., as, for instance, qualia. Moreover, a classical idealist (See metaphysical/ontological idealism, say, ala Berkeley), essentially holds that the mental "it" of experience [though any idealist worth his salt would distinguish between, say, your imagination and a supposed sensual experience] is exhaustive of reality (i.e. we are, or might as well be, essentially brains in vats]. Or alternatively, it can be said to "exist" in the form of whatever neural activity can be detected by an fMRI when you are imagining, experiencing such.


Whatever you believe or imagine is true definitely exists as thoughts.
These thoughts may be misconceptions, hypothetical possibilities or fantasies.

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